Untitled photo

Photo by Joe McNally

In my career, I’ve been an observer — reading a room, detecting the human dynamics of opinions, disagreements, teamwork, conflict. I’ve engaged, analyzed, illustrated, critiqued, and coached — striving to build agreement within leadership teams and work groups, to ease an organization or an individual forward in the achievement of their goals. The context has been the world of business. The elements of my work were those of communication: promoting clear thinking, negotiating agreements, and delivering on promises. Primarily, the “element of consequence” in my toolset has been the conversation, and my work was focused on closing the gap between the present and an intended future.

Now, I want to engage with and experience the natural world. Besides observing, I am drawn to recording, with new and different toolset — a camera, shadows, reflections, the light on the land — and in a new context: in a significant place, at a special time. This both requires and invites a new way of seeing. Time moves more slowly, surroundings change with the movements of the light, you can hear your breath as you watch shadows emerge, stretch across the landscape, and disappear. It’s a practice in stillness, an interaction with the present moment.

Some elements of my past work occur in this realm, too: Curiosity, exploration, and discovery. What’s new are the places and subjects, the meditative aspect of seeing and capturing the light, and experiencing both the pre-work to plan a photograph, and the split second spontaneity in capturing a specific moment. The "element of consequence" here is the light.

Early in my career, my work took me to Egypt. I encountered antiquities and ancient sites in living color, just as I had read about and dreamed of as a child. And I thought, “I’ll likely never return, and I wish there was something like this at home.”

Fortunately, there is, and much of it is concentrated in the four states that encompass the Colorado Plateau. I’ve lived in Arizona (for nearly 35 years), and now in Utah. I’m closer than ever to the locus of the ancients in this place — the center place in their cosmology. They measured time by the stars, built roads before the wheel, shattered pottery as worship and sacrifice. They left evidence of their lives across the seasons — hunting, moving, growing, building. The ruins they built and abandoned in deserts and canyon alcoves exist today, and they still communicate through the vast number of intricate inscriptions across the mesas and cliff walls in petroglyphs (put into the rock by scratching or pecking) and pictographs (painted onto the rock with pigments and a binder, such as egg white or blood). These are memories, yet their presence has meaning today — they are still telling their story.

I suppose these galleries reflect the evolution of my skillset and interests…too broad to be confined to one theme. I’ve just as eagerly captured scenes across the ocean and on my own street, and my curiosity shows up in the range of my subjects and styles. I hope these images are as enjoyable to view as they have been to make.

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I’d like to acknowledge those who’ve inspired, encouraged, and pulled or pushed me along this path:

Dave Thomet, for giving me my first camera.

Howard Huff, David Swindler, Dustin LeFevre and Nicole Pino for their patience, inspired instruction and enthusiasm.

Dewitt Jones for his endless positivity, personal encouragement and generous invitations.

Ed Kirdar, for patiently waiting for me to catch up as we tromped around Egypt.

Ansel Adams for his exquisite eye, creating photography that is art.

David duChemin for his incredible body of work at Craft & Vision…keeping me engaged and enthused. 

Craig Childs for his unmatched descriptions (as artful as any Ansel photo) of the wonderful nature around us and for opening the ancient past through his books.

My wife, Mary, for sitting patiently in the truck while I go back for that thing I saw that I just had to photograph.

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“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” — Diane Arbus

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” — Dorothea Lange

“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” — Matt Hardy

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